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Bullet policy · Apr 26, 2021

White House Announces Additional Science Nominees

Last week, President Biden announced the names of several additional nominees for leadership positions in his Administration.

Dr. Richard Spinrad, a professor of oceanography at Oregon State University, has been tapped to lead the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)—a position that was left vacant during the entirety of the Trump Administration. Dr. Spinrad is a member of the Ocean Studies Board of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine. Between 2014 and 2016, he served as NOAA’s Chief Scientist. He previously served as Vice President of Research at Oregon State University and as the head of NOAA’s Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research and the National Ocean Service. Dr. Spinrad served as the U.S. permanent representative to the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission from 2005-2009. He also co-led a White House committee that crafted the United States’ first set of ocean research priorities. He earned his MS and Ph.D. in oceanography from Oregon State University, Corvallis.

Dr. Asmeret Berhe, a professor of soil biogeochemistry at the University of California (UC), Merced, has been selected to lead the Department of Energy’s Office of Science, which has an annual budget of $7 billion. Dr. Berhe is Interim Associate Dean for Graduate Education at UC Merced and is currently a co-PI in a National Science Foundation funded effort to counter bullying, discrimination, and harassment in research environments. She is a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union and the Geological Society of America, and a member of the inaugural class of the National Academies New Voices in Science, Engineering, and Medicine. Berhe emigrated to the US from Eritrea, and if confirmed by the Senate, would become the first Black woman to lead the office. She received her B.Sc. from the University of Asmara, her M.Sc. in political ecology from Michigan State University, and her Ph.D. in biogeochemistry from the University of California, Berkeley.

Tracy Stone-Manning has been nominated to serve as the next Director of the Bureau of Land Management, a federal agency that manages and conserves public lands. Stone-Manning previously served as Director of the Montana Department of Environmental Quality, and also served as Chief of Staff to former Governor of Montana Steve Bullock (D) and adviser to Senator Jon Tester (D-MT). More recently, she served as a senior adviser for conservation policy at the National Wildlife Federation. She earned her M.S. in environmental studies from the University of Montana and her B.A. from the University of Maryland. If confirmed by the Senate, Stone-Manning will take over a leadership role that has remained vacant since 2017.

Biden has nominated Monica Medina to serve as Assistant Secretary of the Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Science Affairs at the Department of State. Medina is an Adjunct Professor at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, and a Senior Associate on the Stephenson Ocean Security Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Medina previously served as Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere, General Counsel for NOAA, and Special Assistant to the Secretary of Defense. Medina received her Bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University and her J.D. from Columbia Law School.

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